Understanding the Boy Scout Abuse Scandal and the “Perversion Files”


Since its start in 1910, The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) kept secret files containing thousands of sexual abuse cases against scout leaders. Also known as the “Perversion Files,” these reports detail the abuse, as well as include a blacklist of abusers, dating back to the early 1900s. Investigations by the Los Angeles Times report that the BSA never handed over the claims to law enforcement as required under mandatory reporting laws. Furthermore, these investigations showed that scouting officials hid the abuse and allowed the abusers to conceal it.

How Did the BSA Get Away with Sexual Abuse for So Long?

The L.A. Times was one of the only organizations to investigate these secret files from the BSA. According to its reports, almost all the abuse occurred when the troop leaders were alone with the boys. This act was officially prohibited by the BSA in 1987. Unfortunately this was never enforced and was too late for many of the child victims.

The “Perversion Files” also revealed that the abusers preyed on their victims by luring them with illegal activities. These activities included drinking alcohol, driving cars, or allowing the boys to watch pornography. These activities were repeated often enough so that the abusive leaders could then take it another step further. For example, the abusive leaders would make the boys take part in group showers, sleepovers, and inappropriate one-on-one activities.

Why Hasn’t the BSA Taken Action?

From the beginning, BSA leaders operated in secrecy. They created a system that protects these abusers, so their illegal acts are never heard about or disclosed to the public. The organization took extreme measures to ignore these patterns of abuse and to allow the sexual and abusive violation of innocent children.

Call Our Philadelphia Child Injury Law Firm Today If You Are a Victim

The Philadelphia law firm of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., is committed to representing child sexual abuse victims and their families. Please contact our office if you would like to speak to one of our attorneys.

Co-founder and senior shareholder of our law firm, Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney Kenneth M. Rothweiler began his career as a legal clerk for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Dedicated to complex personal injury litigation, he has tried more than 100 jury trials. These cases resulted in some of the largest verdicts in Pennsylvania.